You probably know that Paul Is Dead rumors started in 1969 when a listener called Russ Gibb’s radio show on WKNR in Michigan claiming that Paul McCartney was dead. This started a chain reaction of hysteria in the United States. People all across the country were taking out their albums, (or in some cases buying them for the first time) playing them backwards, and perusing the cover art with a magnifying glass. Reminiscences of this initial wave of PID can be found in the short film “Who Buried Paul McCartney.”
The story finally quieted down when a reporter found a disheveled, but seemingly alive Paul McCartney on a farm in Scotland. The Life Magazine cover, the apparent lack of clues on the “Let It Be” album and the announcement of the break up of the band seemed to put the rumor to rest.
To hear most accounts you would think that the beast did not wake up until the emergence of computer software that could do photo comparisons and reverse recordings and the explosion of the Internet where groups could easily form to share esoterica and perpetuate all kinds of conspiracy theories.
It is a crime that most histories of PID fail to give enough credit to the guy in the middle who provided the link which catapulted the theories of PID into the communication age. His name is Joel Glazier and you hear his voice on several Rotten Apple videos including a conversation with Elliot Mintz about the impostor in RA 15, an explanation of the girl on the back of the Abbey Road cover in RA 32 and a description of the OPD patch in RA 34.
Joel Glazier earned his place in Beatledom by writing an article that appeared in the American Beatles Fanzine Strawberry Fields Forever, Issue #31 in January of 1979.
The Paul Is Dead rumor had been dormant for nearly a decade when Joe Pope, the editor of the fanzine, a beautiful guy who adored the Beatles, committed 28 pages, over half the issue to Joel Glazier’s article "Paul Is Dead...Miss Him, Miss Him." The article, which was incomplete despite the large quantity of pages, started off with a recapping of the major clues that people knew back in 1969. But then on page 4 there was a drawing which showed you how to place a flat mirror against the drum on the Sgt. Pepper cover. I don’t know if Joel is the first one who found that clue. I know I have not seen any earlier reporting of it. The flat mirror on the Pepper Drum trick rocked my world. Many people still feel that it is still the single most convincing clue.
This picture from the article forever changed PID.
Glazier created a slide show and appeared at Beatle Conventions like the Magical Mystery Tour in Boston and the Merseyside Convention in England.
Here is a Radio Interview with Joel Glazier from one of those conventions.
But Glazier went much further; and that’s something you don’t hear about in these interview snippets. In the Strawberry Fields Forever Issue #31, after a dozen pages of clues, Joel started to speculate in his article why the Beatles did it. He could not believe that they would go to such lengths just to keep their popularity. And even if greed were at the bottom of the plan, it doesn’t make sense that they would put clues on their albums and risk being found out. So Glazier proposed a theory that runs surprisingly close to what has been emerging out of the Rotten Apple Series. Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions: If this is just about a cover-up of a death from a car accident, why is it so scary? Why do I get goosebumps and a lump in my throat when I hear certain sounds or see certain images in the Rotten Apple videos?
I believe that Joel Glazier was the first to propose that the man on the Flaming Pie was Satan. His theory of Paul is dead was based on the story of Faust. The Beatles (or at least one of them) made a deal with the man on the Flaming Pie who said you will be Beatles with an “A” and you will have fame and riches as long as you give the devil his due. When the long hair and the drugs and the sexual revolution wasn’t enough to please their master, they had to offer a sacrificial lamb in the person of Paul McCartney.
Then either out of guilt or out of a continued desire to give tribute to Satan, they put the clues on the albums. Glazier tells a convoluted tale of the involvement of the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, Mia Farrow and the whole crowd who gathered in India. He talks about Mia Farrow’s involvement in the movie Rosemary’s Baby and the strange connections between the plot of the movie and the life of its director Roman Polanski, whose wife and unborn baby were killed under the orders of the former roommate of a Beach Boy, Charles Manson. He even believed that Sharon Tate was in the Beatles film Magical Mystery Tour.
And in this article from 1979, Joel Glazier expressed shock that the movie Rosemary’s Baby was filmed in “the building in which John Lennon lives!” Even more shocking was Glazier’s assertion that John Lennon had been “tormenting the CIA” with secret messages in his music and his appearance at the Watergate hearings. By the end of the year, Lennon was dead.
I think it is important to say that Joel Glazier should be given credit (or blame) for much of what we see in the Rotten Apple videos.